fear of sparring

Discussion in 'Tae Kwon Do Resources' started by Din, Mar 3, 2004.

  1. Din

    Din 3rd dan

    i'm an assistant instructor . during classes or more specificallly during sparring there are quite a few students who are afraid to make contact. all they do is kick air. i have told them repeatedly to make some light contact at the very least touch the opponent because its the only way they are going to learn whether or not their kicks are accurately executed. i'm not asking them to knock their opponents out or throw powerful kicks. the most common excuse i'm hearing is 'it will hurt' or 'what if i hurt him/her'. this situation mostly occurs in the female students ( no offence ) and some of the primary school students.
    any ideas on how i can get them to overcome this fear of making contact during sparring.

    if they are afraid to make contact in the dojo how are they going to defend themselves on the streets if needed.
  2. Mort

    Mort New Member

    I had this problem when I first started sparring, as the club was quite new very few people were up for sparring and I ended up with a Chinese Green Belt who was female. I kept thinking that I shouldn't be hitting her (such a gentleman) and would pull my kicks and generally fight badly. All this stopped when a new Finnish student arrived and we had to spar, he went straight in with a spin-roundhouse and caught me full in the chest. I never worried about hurting anyone in sparring after that.

    You could try some drills, pad them up and get them to take kicks from each other (not too hard) just to help them realise that it isn't that painful to kick or be kicked with light contact. When they realise this they can have more fun in the sparring as they'll realise that it doesn't hurt either them or their partner.

  3. TigerAnsTKDLove

    TigerAnsTKDLove Ex-TKD'er 2005.

    i think it might just take time and alot of patient just be patient. if you have a dummy figure have them practice on that or... do no contact sparring thats what my master does and u know... we eventually make contact when doing that so it might help overcome there fears.
  4. Mushroom

    Mushroom De-powered to come back better than before.

    Yes I agree that patience is also key. Why not have them do a game or something as part of warm up to help them get comfortable in making contact with each other, like tag so they actually having fun rather than feeling fear.

    Many new people spar in different ways. The most common is the fear of making contact, but i have dealt with those who actually go full force! So it is a bit difficult, telling one half to hit, while telling the other half don't hit so hard.
    Padding the students up helps (obviously and a bit pricey if u havent bought any yet) and accidents do happen but its hardly ever really serious. usually its a tap on the nose which just happens to be really sensitive and becomes worse than what it really is.

    Give it a go :)

    Good luck
  5. HitNRun

    HitNRun New Member

    I really don't have anything important to say about this topic, I just wanted to make my 100th post.
  6. enlwlffo

    enlwlffo New Member

    i think if they are hit then they will overcome the fear
    i've noticed this in students at my former dojang too
    get them to spar someone who will make light contact and let them experience contact
  7. logsig

    logsig A Noid

    Take away their excuses.

    1. In my experience people who give this excuse of not wanting to hurt other people are the least likely to be able to anyway. Quite frequently they don't want to make contact because they're afraid of hurting themselves or because they have an existing injury that they don't want to aggravate. Are they also reluctant to make contact on pads or bags?

    2. If the student is perfectly happy whacking inanimate objects then the problem is probably shyness ("oooh, touching another person... that's bad"). This shyness may be made worse by religious scruples.

    3. In rare cases I've also seen this: they're afraid that if they do hit the other person their hit will be so wimpy that the other person will lose respect for them, so they don't make contact at all and pretend to be concerned about causing injury instead. Not really an issue if it's light contact only though.

    Ugh. This is quite simply a social problem. Pair the female students with big tough males (or, if that isn't possible, with higher belt females who don't have this problem). Similarly, pair the little kids with much older students. Then their excuses become completely ridiculous. If their new partners encourage them with things like "come on, you can do better than that" or "I can't feel that at all, put some effort into it", it'll shame them into hitting.

    I strongly suggest that you don't allow good friends or people of the same social/age group to stick together (always having the same partners), because it encourages shyness towards other people and allows them to cooperate in laxness.
  8. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Banned Banned

    I had that problem. Had to overcome it myself. Just have to rush in there. Pain only lasts a couple of seconds (unless you totally screwed up and broke something), and bruises heal.

    I still have a problem holding back when we do drills though. I mean, we don't kick to knock them out, but I still have a problem doing it too light.

  9. Intan86

    Intan86 Valued Member

    I did cried when a guy hit me. I mean, he hit me real hard! I cried twice in sparring but I found that it makes me much more aware and I learned my mistake.

    Maybe you should spar with one of girls.
    You know, just to show that they are doing it wrong. You can hit them but not too hard. Kept on hitting her until she hit you back. When she become frustrated she'll hit you back.
  10. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Banned Banned

    Just be sure to block your nuts. Even if it means getting socked in the face. But, you should know that already...

    The only time I got hit really hard in sparring (I mean clean shots, not hard shots that are softened by my blocking/evading) is when I ran into a spinning back kick, and when I basically ran into a punch. Almost puked both times. Made me realize: don't run into things.

  11. Din

    Din 3rd dan

    thanks for the advice ... i'll try them out and see how they work ...
    can spar with anyone right now .. or kick for that matter Intan86 .. i'm still recovering from knee surgeory ... tore a ligament during training. out of commission for at least another 4-5 months.
  12. SoulTRippeR

    SoulTRippeR New Member

    have them wear Hogu (chest pads) when sparring. tell them to got light, just tapping to start off. Even run some drills where they have to "tap" each other on the stomach back and forth.

    and let them know "Courage is like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it gets." (HOORAY FOR CHESSE!!!)
  13. Picksey

    Picksey New Member

    Could it be a range problem? It can take a while to judge distances and learn the reach of your own techniques, and to become confident that your strikes will actually 'end' where you intend them to :) Your students may be worried that they don't have the control yet to only touch their partner's gi, and are compensating by over-pulling thier strikes.

    Just a thought.
  14. Chris.B

    Chris.B New Member

    Well, if you're still open for advice, try sparring with them yourself, or a practice spar. Take someone whos scared and fight and just lightly tap them, or just sit there and go hit me lightly I'm an evil black belt a light tap won't hurt.
  15. LeadLegger

    LeadLegger New Member

    Are they new to sparring? If so, they just need more time to get comfortable with it. Do they pair the experienced blackbelts with the color belts at your school?

    If they are not new, then there is a good way to teach them that it doesn't hurt that bad.
    Spar them, then kick them hard (not that hard, just enough to knock the wind out of them) or make them hold their hands up and punch them in the stomach a few times. It doesn't hurt that bad when it's actually happening. It's just the FEAR of pain that holds people back from doing anything. :woo:
  16. guran

    guran Valued Member

    You can ask them to practice static called sparring (you punch, I block) with you. When they throw short or slow techniques, let them know that they are messing up your training time because you don't even need to block their techniques. We try to teach students that it is their obligation to their training partner to throw techniques with some vigor (and control for the other end of the spectrum!) or the partner will develop a false sense of accomplishment and get whacked when training with someone that is less "reserved".
  17. Kenpo Kicker

    Kenpo Kicker New Member

    threaten to take their belts away or demote all of them to white belt.
  18. marcusknight

    marcusknight Valued Member

    hehe ive been doing martial arts for 11 years and i still dont hit my opponenet lol, unless they are holding a shield, then ill just flatten them, but still only if they are male and older and bigger than me. still could never hit a girl properly tho even if she had pads.
    in my case i think i cant do it becasue i find i can only hit someone who i see as a serious threat to one of my freinds, even on the streets i usually take the beating instead of fighting, i know i can fight, i have done it and i can kick the day lights out of a punch bag or a person, but if the person is not a serious threat to one of my freinds or to someone i see on the streets i will not fight. perhaps it is the same for the ppl in ur club?
    as for thwe shyness thing someone mentioned mentioned, i am known for being shy, but i think it is a bit extreem to say all these ppl are shy.
    i dont really have a suggestion on how to make them spa tho sorry, unless you got the ones who dont hit to fight a slighlty aggressive fighter who will stop every now and again to give them tips, this should encourage them to hit back becasue there opponent is being agressive, but they wont run away because if they do back of hell give them hnits on how to defend against his attacks.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2004
  19. NRees

    NRees Taekwon-Do II Degree

    When I started, I trained with adults who where considerably bigger than me. Growing up in such an environment forced me into "hit or be hit". So i became a heavy sparrer, now we've joined an organization that frowns on really heavy contact, I've had to make less contact.
  20. Kenpo Kicker

    Kenpo Kicker New Member

    Why the hell would you take a beating instead of defending yourself?

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